We’ve all seen them floating around. Those half-skateboard, half-Segway things that teenagers ride around town, in malls and on the street. Celebrities from Justin Bieber to Mike Tyson have been seen riding them, and they quickly became one of the hottest holiday gifts of 2015. Marketed as a fun, revolutionary way to get around that gives riders a glimpse into the future, “hoverboards” have taken the country by storm.
However, for many people, these hoverboards have been a real pain – literally. A quick search of the hashtag “#hoverboardfail” on social media leads to endless videos of people tumbling off their boards. One video has an overly ambitious dad trying to show off to his son until embarrassingly plunging into the wall. Another shows a woman attempting a handstand on hers until barreling into her Christmas Tree.
While these “#hoverboardfails” are mostly all meant to be fun and games, many hoverboard falls have led to serious injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently raised many safety concerns associated with the product, and stated that there have been reports of 70 emergency room visits due to hoverboard injuries since August. Some universities have even banned the boards due to the product’s danger.
Perhaps even more alarming, the federal government is currently investigating 22 reports of hoverboards catching fire. Here in Louisiana, a Laffite woman claims the hoverboard she bought her son suddenly burst into flames and destroyed her family’s home. A recent video shows the fire department rushing to the scene as a hoverboard explodes in downtown Los Angeles.
So before you hop on the hoverboard craze, be aware of these tips to reduce the risk of incidents or accidents:
- Always wear padding and a helmet when riding a hoverboard.
- Before riding a hoverboard for the first time, read tutorials on how to use it. A “how-to” guide can be found here.
- Avoid buying the product at locations such as mall kiosks or websites that do not have information about who is selling the product and who can be contacted if there’s a problem.
- Do not charge the hoverboard overnight or when you are not available to observe the board.
A complete list of safety tips can be found on CPSC’s full statement. The CPSC also urges consumers to report incidents via www.SaferProducts.gov.